This afternoon, Anita and I are off to appear on TV in order to talk about our upcoming website, Soberistas.com, which we are launching in November 2012. I have never been on TV before (except for when I sat in the audience of Light Lunch with Mel and Sue somewhere in the 1990’s when I was a student, clearly armed with sufficient free time to allow me to while away my afternoons watching Anne Robinson, Mike Flowers and the Krankies in a studio near Waterloo) and so I would have expected the nerves to kick in a little by now. Not so, which is interesting, when you consider that back in my drinking days I was a bag of nerves.
I’m not simply talking about feeling anxious when an event was approaching which would cause most people to suffer an attack of the jitters to a degree (exams, driving test, etc) – I am talking about the necessity of talking to a bus driver in order to pay my fare, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car and clinging to the seat in terror despite travelling at approximately two miles an hour in heavy traffic, or walking in to a packed cinema and being convinced that all eyes were on me (and not for any positive reasons).
In my drinking days I was, quite simply, a bag of nerves. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, increases heart rate, causes a drop in blood sugar levels, induces dehydration, as well as affecting mood due to a drop in serotonin. I had an inkling that alcohol might be behind those terrible ‘days after the night before’ when I suffered palpitations, paranoia, depression, anxiety, and heightened fear over what should be everyday situations, but I always put it down to my personality. As I was in a state of denial for many years regarding the seriousness of my binge drinking, I managed to convince myself that I was just a nervy person, and I needed cigarettes and booze just to get me through this tricky business we call life.
How nice it is then, to be preparing for our appearance on Calendar without feeling as though my heart were about to burst out of my chest, or that I’m going to throw my guts up, faint or die of fear. This is my personality, not that overwrought wreck who wanted to hide away from life’s challenges (and from anything that involved a little more human interaction than watching Ice Road Truckers/Come Dine With Me/Jeremy Kyle from my settee, whilst counting down the hours until it was acceptable to have another glass of wine). What a relief!